How To Choose The Right Curtains

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Google+
Loading admin actions …

Who doesn’t love visualising their dream home? Stunning wallpaper, king-size beds, plush seating for our indoor cinema… Yes, we really think of everything ranging from colour to style, décor and accessories when dreaming up the perfect home, yet too often we overlook little things that can make a big impact – such as window curtains. 

But a curtain can go a long way in boosting your home’s aesthetic appeal – and you need not pay an arm and a leg. In addition, your curtains should never be an afterthought or an impulse purchase – they deserve the same attention that you give to your bed linen or dining chairs. 

Why is that? Because picking the wrong curtains can ruin the appeal of your living room (or bedroom or study… ), resulting in a mismatched room that would have looked better had no curtain been added in the first place. 

But seeing as this is homify and we adore style advice, see herewith some pointers to help you get the basics right for your curtain shopping.

Consider the colour

For a look that really pulls that room together, your curtains and wall colours need to communicate with each other. 

If you have patterned curtains, make sure the pattern contains at least a bit of the wall’s tone(s). If those tones happen to be white or ivory, choose a pattern with a white or ivory background. More colourful walls allow you to repeat the colour in the fabric pattern’s background or foreground design.  

For a classic look with solid-coloured curtains, choose curtain fabric in the same colour family as your wall colour, but in a darker or lighter version. For example, select navy curtains if your walls are a cool arctic blue (or vice versa). 

Complementary colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. But don’t just opt for colours that contrast; use a curtain fabric pattern that mixes a neutral with your wall colour’s main tone. For example, if your walls are blue, the complementary colour is orange. So, use a pattern that has orange and ivory or (orange and white) in the mix.

The lighting factor

Hanging up a curtain goes much further than pretty colours. In fact, the main purpose of curtains is to keep those prying eyes or sunshine out. But this differs depending on which room we’re referring to.

If you’re choosing curtains for a common area like the living room, go with sheer curtains to allow more light into the space. In contrast, if you want more privacy and less natural light to flood the room, like your bedroom or indoor cinema, then consider a heavier fabric for the curtains. 

homify hint: Along with those sheer curtains for that sunlit room, opt for curtains in light, natural colours. Sunlight tends to fade bright-coloured fabric faster. 

Speaking of lighting, let us help you to: Bathe your home in natural light!

For fabric’s sake

 Windows & doors  by Chivasso BV
Chivasso BV

Monsoon 2014

Chivasso BV

The choice of fabric for your curtain stretches much further than deciding how much sunlight you want in the room. While sheer curtains will allow an elegant dose of sunshine in your living room, they are not the best options for those of us who value privacy. In this case, we advise that you add an additional layer of solid curtains along with the sheers to give yourself more options. 

Light and airy fabrics like linen or cotton will give you enough privacy while also allowing some warm sunshine into your room. It creates a casual, airy feel in most spaces. 

But should you want to add some drama to a more formal space, opt for a heavier fabric like suede or velvet. 

homify hint: Try before you buy. Find a fabric sample and hold it up against a window to see how well it functions and looks in your space.

The long and short of it

Before taking out that tape measure, decide how high above the window you want those curtains to be. Hanging panels higher than the window will give a sense of height to a room, which is why a lot of interior designers opt for a dramatic look and hang curtains more than 15 cm above the window frame. 

Measure from the window’s top (plus the added space of height where the curtains will hang) to the floor. If you want a more traditional look with a curtain that slightly puddles on the floor, add an additional 5-7 cm to your length. For a modern, crisp look, have the panel fall flush with the floor. 

When measuring your window’s width, add about 10-20 cm on both sides and double the total number to ensure curtain fullness. If you plan to use your curtains to shut out the sun, those extra centimetres around the perimeter of your window frame will also help to keep out any creeping light.

Hot or cold

Are you a devout hater of all things wintery and cold? Thermal curtains may become your best friends. Adding curtains to the windows (and even doors) gives you an additional layer of insulation and can even lessen your electricity bill. 

Of course, pretty soon spring and summer will come along and you will be longing to have your interiors share in that delightful new season. All you need to do then is draw those curtains back and take in the sights and sounds outside!

As we said, sheer curtains are not ideal for privacy, yet they are perfect for creating breezy, cheerful spaces with wonderful natural ventilation. So, take into account how adding window curtains affects the flow of natural light in your home, and let that influence your choice of fabric. Adding heavy drapes that completely block out light in an already dark, cluttered home can be counter-productive, unappealing, and very cold in winter!

More than curtains

Of course, there is no law stating that you must cover your windows. So, should you not be that concerned with an enchanting view or full-blown privacy, we have some other options that extend further than blinds and shutters. 

• Adorn that window frame with a bright burst of colour. The bigger the contrast between the frame and wall colours, the less likely your guests are to notice that there are no curtains. 

• Display those wall arts loud and proud by placing it on the window sill.  

• Make that window look like a piece of art by adding shelves around it, having your shelves and decorative objects accent the window instead of covering it up.  

• Transform that modest window into an imaginative vision of stained-glass art. Use easy adhesives to create striking visuals and patterns, or cut out some tissue paper and stick them with glue stick and/or masking tape. Washable glue stick works well on glass, and the tissue paper and masking tape peel off easily, making this a prime option for rented spaces.

What do your perfect curtains look like? We love to hear from our readers, so please share in our comments section, below.
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

Need help with your home project? Get in touch!

Discover home inspiration!